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Cambodia’s pork sellers suffer as African swine fever fears linger

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Cambodia’s pork industry has yet to show signs of recovery since it was hit by African swine fever, pork sellers in Phnom Penh said. Heng Chivoan

Cambodia’s pork sellers suffer as African swine fever fears linger

Cambodia's pork industry has yet to show signs of recovery since it was hit by African swine fever, pork sellers in Phnom Penh said.

Taing Mengkea, an Orussey market-based pig business owner who purchases pigs from Mong Reththy Group Co Ltd and distributes them to many of the capital’s markets, said he previously sold 60 pigs per day before the outbreak, but now sells only 30.

Both Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have called for people to eat pork as normal, saying the disease does not spread to humans.

However, Mengkea said consumers were still afraid.

“Even though my pigs are taken from [Mong Reththy Group] and given a proper inspection, some buyers are still reluctant to buy them,” he said.

Another pork seller near Sovanna Shopping Center said sales have seen a sharp decline.

“Sales are down dramatically now, some days I just cannot sell the pork to my customers. In the end, I have to sell it in the afternoon at a discount,” she said.

She said she was previously able to sell between 130 and 140kg of pork per day but now cannot sell even 30kg.

“Even though I can present a proper certificate that I obtained from a veterinarian, which states that the pork is safe, some buyers still refuse to buy it,” she said.

Chenda, another pork seller at the Kab Ko market, said her sales did not drop much as her buyers consist mainly of noodle and rice porridge sellers who continue to make purchases as usual.

She said her regulars continued to have faith in her product. “I only get good-quality meat, and I have a good reputation as a seller here, that’s all,” she said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday called on people to eat pork as usual.

“I appeal to our people to eat pork. Don’t worry, I also eat pork every day, [the disease] does not spread from animals to humans,” he said.

The ministry’s General Directorate of Animal Health and Production recently said more than 3,000 pigs were killed or culled in Cambodia due to an outbreak of African swine fever in five provinces, including Ratanakkiri, Tbong Khmum, Svay Rieng, Takeo and Kandal provinces.

The Cambodian Pig Raisers Association previously estimated that the disease has caused more than $600,000 in losses to family-owned businesses.

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